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"An American Journal: The Odyssey Continues. I find fate has deposited me with the Owens Family, a somewhat provincial household in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. Although the individual members seemed well-intentioned enough, they do seem a bit out of touch with one another. But, with a certain amount of patience and direction, I'm sure I can whip them into shape, even George.
They're damn lucky to have me!"—Mr. Belvedere, the pilot episode
An Dom Com produced by 20th Century Fox Television and airing on ABC in The Eighties, about a posh British butler being employed by an otherwise typical American Nuclear Family. The Belvedere character had been created by novelist Gwen Davenport in 1947, and portrayed by Clifton Webb in three late 1940s/early 1950s films. The series spanned 6 seasons from 1985-1990, (the first season only had 7 episodes, due to premiering as a Midseason Replacement).
In the series, butler Lynn Belvedere (Christoper Hewett), struggles to adapt to the Owens household. The breadwinner, George (Bob Uecker), is a sportswriter. His wife Marsha (Ilene Graff) is attending law school. At the show's start, oldest son Kevin (Rob Stone) is a senior in high school, daughter Heather (Tracy Wells) is a freshman, and Wesley (Brice Beckham) is in elementary school. Over the course of the series, George becomes a sportscaster, Marsha graduates from law school and starts a career as a lawyer, Kevin leaves for college and gets his own apartment, and Heather moves up in high school. In the two-part series finale, Mr. Belvedere marries and moves to Africa.
The show will return to the air on Family Net starting in October 2011.
- Alliterative Family: The Bilinkis in "Moonlighting." They thought it was hilarious that the Owens' all had names with different letters.
- All-Star Cast: Twice, in "Separation" in season 3, and in "The Field" in season 6.
- As Himself: Robert Goulet, legendary singer and actor. Occasionally sings duets with Marsha. George finds him to be irritating.
- Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Wesley's best friend, Miles Knobnoster (Casey Ellison), has these.
- Captain's Log: Mr. Belvedere's diary, which he would write in at the end of each episode.
- The Cast Showoff: Many times on the show, Marsha would occasionally sing a song. In real life, Ilene Graff is a well known singer who previously co-starred as Sandy Dumbrowski in the Broadway musical Grease, working alongside future husband Ben Lanzarone, who was the production's musical director and would later write incidental music for Mr. Belvedere as well as guest starring in the episode titled "Debut", in which George quits his job and decides to become a lounge singer as a result of almost getting electrocuted in the bathtub.
- But in "Marsha's Secret" in season 5, Ilene and two other singing waitresses were lip-synching to someone's else's singing voices.
- Casting Gag: Bob Uecker is a sportscaster for the Milwaukee Brewers in real life.
- Christmas Episode: "Christmas Story" in season 4 and "A Happy Guy's Christmas" in season 6.
- Cliff Hanger: The show had three different two-part episodes. "Deportation" in season 3, "The Trip" in season 4, and the series finale, "Mr. Belvedere's Wedding" in season 6.
- Clip Show: "The Attic". However, this episode was shelved by ABC until Syndication.
- Dom Com
- Dueling Shows: With fellow ABC program Sledge Hammer.
- Episode Code Number: Like many TV shows from 20th Century Fox over the years, a funky episode code system was used, as their way of labeling each episode in production order. "3T##" for season 1, "4G##" for season 2, "5A##" for season 3, "5M##" for season 4, "5V##" for season 5, and "6V##" for season 6. 7 episodes were produced for season 1, with 22 episodes being produced for each subsequent season for a total of 117. At least two episodes that aired during season 5 had season 4 episode codes.
- Every Episode Ending: Mr. Belvedere writing in his diary.
- Fish Out of Water
- Gender Blender Name: Belvedere's first name is "Lynn". In the original movie with Clifton Webb, this leads to the family hiring him as housekeeper from a newspaper ad on the mistaken assumption that he's a woman.
- Grand Finale: Despite this show never getting the proper respect it deserved from ABC, at least they let them do a proper series finale for its 6th season.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Hufnagels, a family living next door to the Owenses.
- Hot Mom: Marsha
- May-December Romance: George and Marsha.
- Midseason Replacement: Premiered in the middle of the 1984-1985 television season.
- Missing Episode: 10 episodes. 2 from season 5, and 8 from season 6 to be more precise. You may have seen them in syndication, however.
- My Name Is Not Durwood: Heather's best friend, Angela Shastokavich (Michele Matheson), frequently mispronounces Mr. Belvedere's name with such variations as "Mr. Bumpersticker" and "Mr. Bellybutton".
- Papa Wolf: George in the "Homecoming" episode from season 6, where Heather nearly gets raped.
- Never Learned to Read: Featured in one episode with one of Wesley's classmates.
- Rashomon Style: "Fall Guy". One day, after returning home, Marsha becomes furious when she finds her beloved "Home Sweet Home" pillow ruined. She automatically blames Wesley, who was the only kid in the house last night. Soon, eveidence begins to emerge of what really happened, and as it turns out, Wesley took the fall for something he didn't do. However, the episode ends with all three kids being grounded anyways.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The show's theme song, "According to Our New Arrivals." According to Wikipedia, it was originally composed in 1984 for a rejected pilot named Help, which was later resurrected as Marblehead Manor in syndication in 1987. The show starred Michael Richards as an inept member of an eccentric couple's household staff, who were perpetually conniving to pull the wool over the eyes of the mansion's newly hired head butler.
- Schedule Slip: In season 3, the three remaining episodes were sheleved in favor of the first season of The Charmings. They were shown in May. Also in season 4, two episodes were shelved, and didn't air until season 5. Finally, there were 10 unaired episodes (2 from season 5, and 8 from season 6).
- Servile Snarker: Mr. Belvedere himself, much of the tie.
- Shout-Out: In the episode titled "The Spelling Bee", in which Wesley has a crush on a girl he's competing with in a spelling bee, Kevin gives him romantic advice. The advice he tells Wesley is that Wesley should put on his Sesame Street album. In real life, Ilene Graff's brother, Todd Graff, was one of the original children who sang the theme song to Sesame Street when it first premiered in 1969, in addition to playing Short Circus member Jesse on fellow CTW production The Electric Company. In addition, script supervisor Shelley Herman also worked on Sesame Street as assistant to the producer from 1973-1975, as did production executive Robert Braithwaite, who was Sesame Street's production supervisor from 1975-1976, in addition to being an associate producer for fellow CTW production 3-2-1 Contact. Also, stage manager Melinda Casey also worked on 3-2-1 Contact as associate director for the program's celebrity segments. To top it all off, 4th season guest star Luisa Leschin was an ensemble regular on fellow CTW production Square One TV.
- The Jimmy Hart Version: The tune playing during the montage of Kevin performing his nurse duties in one episode sounds a lot like the St Elsewhere theme.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: George Owens, played by Bob Uecker, who frequently jokes about his homely appearance in real life, paired with gorgeous Marsha. She is beautiful and appears to be a generation his junior.
- Very Special Episode: This show is one of the Trope Codifiers.